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TRACK LIST: 1. Nicolas 4:06 (Thirion / S. Jausserand) 2. Mimi 2:58 (Richard / Richard) 3. Exposition Universale 1:41 (Chenevier) 4. Nicole 5:42 (Thirion / Richard) 5. La Musique 3:05 (Thirion / B. Delaire) 6. Christine 6:46 (Richard / Richard) 7. Those Distant Waters 3:24 (Chenevier / Richard) 8. Upsalla 2:05 (Chenevier) 9. Io Prefero 4:29 (Thirion / Chenevier) 10. Pas I'sou 3:11 (Chenevier / S. Jausserand) LINE-UP: Guigou Chenevier - drums; tenor sax; vocals Ferdinand Richard - bass & electric guitar; vocals Jo Thirion - organ & piano; trumpet Bernard Mathieu - soprano & tenor sax Fred Frith - violin; additional electric guitar Produced by Fred Frith. Engineered by M. Engeli at "THC", Bern, Switzerland.
Prolusion. "Les Poumons Gonfles" is the third album by Etron Fou Leloublan. The reviews of both of the band's previous albums are located >here and >here.
Synopsis. The line-up on "Les Poumons Gonfles" features two (out of the three) original members of the band, Chevenier and Richard, and three new musicians, including one of the most outstanding figures of the RIO movement: Fred Frith of Henry Cow and Art Bears fame. The main soloing instruments on the album are keyboards, bass, drums, and saxophones, and most of the tracks here are above all notable for the continuous use of complex measures and the contrast between seemingly lazy vocals and up-tempo, diverse and highly intricate, instrumental arrangements. Eight out of the ten tracks here are songs and, overall, they're much in the vein of those on the earlier albums by the band. To be more precise, the songs: Nicolas, Nicole, Christine, and La Musique (1, 4, 5, & 6) are about that unique RIO, which allowed Etron Fou Leloublan to reach a cult status straight after they released their first album, and the stylistics of Mimi and Those Distant Waters (2 & 7) represents a blend of RIO and Minimalist music. An amazing fusion of RIO and Waltz is presented on Pas I'sou (10), and the triple union of Symphonic Art-Rock, Jazz-Fusion, and RIO on Io Prefero (9). One of the two instrumentals on the album: Upsalla is stylistically in the vein of the four songs that I described first, though in addition, it features pronounced elements of music of the East. Another instrumental piece, Exposition (3), is somewhat of a RIO concerto for drums, keyboards, and bass. La Musique contains an episode consisting of diverse and highly inventive interplay between solos of acoustic guitar and passages of piano and organ, and Those Distant Waters is the only song on the album that features lyrics in English, though they were narrated rather than sung.
Conclusion. While not one of the best of the RIO and RIO-related albums released in the 1980s, the third Etron Fou Leloublan album is nevertheless in many ways an outstanding musical production and will certainly please all those whose horizons aren't limited by some specific musical framework.
VM: July 22, 2003
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